Reference 5850 vs OC

First off apologies for any incorrect terminology I'm fairly new to all of this.

Right now I am looking into buying a 5850 for a new machine I'm building. I was going to buy a GIGABYTE 5850OC since right now it's on sale at (I'm Canadian) and it would match my GIGABYTE motherboard. I started reading reviews though and it seemed that it has problems running 2D so constantly runs faster than it should and it has no voltage control which causes problems OC'ing it further. Well I have never built my own machine so I don't know how important these things are but I would like the ability to OC and maximize my machine.

For my current build I am going to be buying a single 5850 now and adding a second one in crossfire later. The way I see it I have two options: Buy the 5850OC from for 275 now and just throw another one in later without modifying it at all and hoping the latest BIOS update will fix any problems it has (honestly I am not even entirely sure what that means but I going to figure it out when I get to that stage of building it heh) OR buy the reference model of the 5850 from and leave it alone for now but be able to OC and change the voltage at will when I need to. That is of course if the reference model does include voltage control and the 5850 from ncix is the reference model.

Here's the two links:

5850OC -$275 Newegg -

5850 Reference - $349 NCIX -

Hopefully I made sense, quick recap:

1) Wondering if the ncix version of the 5850 is the reference model
2) Wondering if the ncix version of the 5850 has voltage control and is easier to OC to specifications
3) Wondering if it's worth it to pay the extra cash to get the reference model from ncix over the factory OCed card from newegg
4) Or if I absolutely must is my best option to buy a 5850 from another manufacturer, any recommendations?

6 answers Last reply
More about reference 5850
  1. I only have one answer, buy the cheaper one $74 is to much a price difference to let it slide by.
  2. Sadly, the NCIX version is not reference and does not have voltage control either, so definitely go newegg. By reference we mean the PCB design from AMD with the Batman cooler, not non-OCed cards.

    The act is voltage only comes in handy when you want to break 900Mhz, if not, the Gigabytes would do fine. Also, see how much is a MSI Twin Frozr, it has voltage conrol, Custom cooler, and is frequently on sale.
  3. Thanks for the replies. I think I am going to go with the GIGABYTE OC. The MSI Frozr currently is at least a bit more expensive at every site I checked and yes, I really wouldn't mind saving the $75 on the GIGABYTE.
  4. Since the OP isn't talking about OC'ing the card himself, I'm guessing maybe he doesn't want to. That being said, the Gigabyte card looks like the best "bang for your buck".

    Custom cooling means it probably runs cooler, and therefore perhaps quieter. I'm not sure whether it would have voltage control or not. Keep in mind though, factory OC's are usually fairly small. So don't expect it to run way faster than a standard card.

    But it's the cheapest thing on right now. :)
  5. Thanks!
  6. jerreece said:
    Since the OP isn't talking about OC'ing the card himself
    I believe it was mentioned more than once actually.
    The Gigabyte card is a good deal but no it doesn't have voltage control. To my knowledge the only HD5850s beyond the reference version that allow for such are the previously mentioned Twin Frozr and the Asus DirectCU which is a very nice version of the card.
    Have you considered a GTX 470? I haven't looked at the Canadian prices but in the US it is often a better deal lately. It is faster at stock, also OCs to a large degree and all of the cards allow for voltage modification. SLI also scales better than crossfire if you are considering a dual card setup later. 2 will beat an HD5970 handily. On the down side is that it uses more power and gives off more heat.
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